More than 60 suspected illegal waste sites received unannounced visits from the Environment Agency (EA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) yesterday (23 May) in their biggest single joint day of action to date, the EA says.
Officers visited sites across Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire to follow up on specific reports of activity carried out illegally, such as burning of commercial waste or vehicle dismantling.
HMRC is working jointly with the Environment Agency and other partners to help waste site operators understand what they need to do to comply with their tax obligations in relation to operating a waste site.
Environment Agency officers wore body-worn cameras to deter aggression and abuse, which is on the rise nationally, it says. Footage from the cameras could be used to press charges against offenders.
Advice and guidance will be offered to legitimate businesses, and follow-up visits made to sites where criminal and illegal activities are confirmed.
Pete Stark, Enforcement team leader with the Environment Agency, said: “Waste criminals like those we’re tracking down today flout the law and put our communities and our environment at risk.
“That’s why we’re working closely with HMRC to tackle waste crime and make sure businesses are following environmental and financial laws. We take waste crime extremely seriously and will do everything we can to bring those responsible to account.
Emilia Armattoe-Fowler, HMRC – “We want to create a level playing field for those that comply with tax requirements in the waste sector. That’s why we’re working with the Environment Agency to tackle non-compliance at unauthorised waste sites, helping them get their right tax at the right time.”
“These visits have been organised as a direct result of reports from local people, so we’d urge anyone with information about illegal activities to call our 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers.
“Together with legitimate businesses and local communities, we can tackle crime in the waste sector, make a difference for our environment and make a better society for everyone.”
Emilia Armattoe-Fowler, HMRC, said: “We want to create a level playing field for those that comply with tax requirements in the waste sector. That’s why we’re working with the Environment Agency to tackle non-compliance at unauthorised waste sites, helping them get their right tax at the right time.
“Any person or business that disposes of material at an unauthorised waste site, or knowingly causes or permits the disposal, may be jointly and severally liable for Landfill Tax and a penalty of up to 100 per cent of the tax due, or face criminal prosecution.”